Morality and Honesty

Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible, is a slightly fictionalized narration of the Salem witch trials that occurred in Providence Massachusetts in 1692. It was published in 1953, during the height of the Red Scare in the cold war. For those of you who don’t know, the Red Scare was hysteria over anti-communist sentiments. People were worried that communists were infiltrating the US and were trying to spread communist. As a result, several governmental committees and investigations arose expose the alleged communists. Miller himself became a subject of these investigations.

In The Crucible, Miller seemed to be playing around with the question of morality in terms of honesty. Abigail, along with several other girls, attempted witch to use witchcraft to kill Abigail’s former lover’s wife. When they were caught, they blamed others for bewitching them. They went to great extent to preserve their innocence. They acted as witnesses in the infamous witch trials. They were able to accuse dozens of innocent people and have them declared guilty.

This spurred an endless chain of lies and false testimony. The convicted were offered mercy if they admitted to being a witch and “exposed” their cohorts. What’s more, some used it as an opportunity to strike against their neighbors, fueled by jealousy and greed.  I you accused someone of being a witch, they were probably going to be convicted.

However, amidst all the cowardice and corruption, there were those that remained pure. They refused to be a cog in the homicidal machine. Among them were Rebecca Nurse, Giles, and Proctor. Proctor is really interesting because he really had a lot to lose. He had a pregnant wife and several kids. Yet still, he had he chose morality over duality, martyrdom over shame.

Arthur Miller made clear statement on morality in this play. He encouraged the viewers to tell the truth, despite the consequences. Many people died because Abigail was unwilling to take ownership of her actions. Many more would’ve died without the courage of the individuals that spoke out against the trials. This is very applicable to people. Often times, we chose to take the easy path. We blame our failures on others. This both directly and indirectly harm us and those around us. What we don’t realize is in doing so, we hinder our ability to grow as a human being.

If you can smile when things go wrong, you have someone in mind to blame.


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2 Responses to Morality and Honesty

  1. athairo says:

    Hi Enoch- I really liked this post. You shared so much truth and showed how this truth carries over into our world today. I also thought that your use of imagery- like this metaphor: “They refused to be a cog in the homicidal machine”- was effective in getting your point across. You give really helpful historical context for both the book and the time period it was written in- it’s almost always good to be unassuming with regards to what your reader knows and you did a good job with that.
    Improvements: Towards the end of paragraph 2, you use “they” quite repetitively to start your sentences. I don’t know whether you did this on purpose, but it seemed tedious/superfluous. Additionally, when you talk about how lack of ownership/having courage played a part in causing/preventing deaths in Salem and how it relates to us now, you use this statement: “This is very applicable to people.” – which is vague.

    Awesome job 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. nupursavani says:

    Enoch, you made some really interesting points in your post. I like how you contrasted Abigail and her friends to other characters in the book to make your point. You begin your post by giving a brief historical context which is really helpful to the reader, it also shows that while the book was written a while back we still have something to learn from it. Which is a shame because it also says that our attitude has really not changed. I noticed quite a few typing errors so I would suggest getting the post proofread by someone else. Otherwise, you did a really good job in getting your point across effectively 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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